Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh Standings Page, where art thou?

"You might be a TE Addict if... You spend more time looking at your TE standings page than your friends list."

Those words were written by me about the original Tiny Empires game, and were published on July 17th, 2008.

The legendary standings page, where you could go to see who had what. When we first started the original game, Erzsabet would take snapshots of it for us to track our progress, and they still remain fond treasures.

But as the game opens onto a new time, with a brand new set of players to track, we find nothing but a blank spot for a standings page. And there's no word on the site about one, either. So why are we playing without one?

It can't be because Ultralite forgot about it. He's spent way, way, too much time and effort on it in the old game, including a total reworking of it not that long ago. He knows that the standings page traffic is most of the traffic on his site (or if it is, I assume so- but I'm sure he knows.) In short, ignorance or forgetfulness is not possible.

Being pressed for deadlines that force one to publish before something critical is ready isn't a likely issue, either. No one knew when the game was coming out- no one knew there was another game- so there were no public deadlines. Unless there were some real life deadlines, it seems unlikely that this can account for it.

Lack of capability isn't likely. The new server came online not long ago, and it would seem obvious that it was all part of the plan for this new game as well. If there were going to be problems with it, he would have known about them before the (surprise) release-- at which point, see above.

All of this leads to the conclusion that it was a deliberate decision. Which leaves a big, fat, obvious question: why?

One theory is that since he started the game with a number of "UltraBots", he is withholding the official standings page until he can slide them out. Of course, with the biggest UltraBot being the guild leader, it's pretty hard to slide them all out!

I advanced one theory to a friend who told me to slap myself, that that idea was just too evil. Maybe. I'll not reveal it here, since I don't want to take the chance that it would be realized because I said it too loudly. Let's just say, I hope not!

Another possibility is that Ultralite is deliberately holding off on doing a standings page to either reduce drama or reduce line-shifting as people find others they want to play with better (or people look through the page to find others to recruit to them.) In other words, give people time to learn their own superiors, subordinates, and likely whatever group has formed around that, and develop their own group identities without active "line search" recruiters, or pre-existing loyalties destroying possible new friendships. It seems a bit far-fetched, but it's certainly possible.

One thing this has done, however, is cause people to create their own workarounds. I suspect the amount of creativity that is going into 3rd party standings pages would be surprising, if known. But just as a for instance....

There is a service called "Cogmap". You can start your own organizational chart on it with a free account. A quick search finds three TE 3000 charts:

Rouge Armistice
Bratt Lunasea

And a couple of more from other places:

Steve FallingBridge
Angels of the Universe

...and I'm sure there are more out there. If you know of any, please put them in the comments below to share them with the rest of us!

And what other possibilities exist out there? Only time will tell. I'm almost beginning to wonder if an "official" standings page might have to start fighting the competition if it waits too long to come out!


  1. I noticed that most of the peoples standing pages don't show the Ultrabots at the top. I'm just a little curious as to who has which one.

  2. In Space, you can hear ME scream! WHERE IS THE STANDINGS PAGE! :)